The impact of COVID-19 has spread far beyond China and has affected cruise ship operations not only in the Pacific but worldwide. A recent poll by Travel Weekly, a US-based trade publication, reports that 43.6 per cent of traveller-respondents expressed concern about booking a cruise anywhere.
In response to such fears, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Florida-based trade group representing the world’s global cruise industry, has issued a statement (which follows in full) outlining what cruise line operators are doing worldwide to prevent COVID-19 from being transmitted to their passengers now and in the immediate future.
At this point we also advise that, though standard trip-cancellation/interruption travel insurance policies can protect you in case you are forced to cancel a cruise booking for reasons of illness or other unexpected emergencies (as defined in your policy), cancelling your booking for fear or concern that something untoward might happen is only covered if you have purchased a policy that specifically allows you to cancel “for any reason” or if you have a “change of mind” clause in your contract. This will cost somewhat more, but it adds a measure of protection that is wise to consider in these precarious times.
Ask you travel advisor to explain how such policy enhancements work. They could save you a lot of money in case your plans are interrupted.
Following is the CLIA statement on COVID-19 in full.
WASHINGTON, DC (13 FEB 2020)—Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice of the global cruise industry, issued today the following statement in response to recent developments concerning COVID-19 and its impact on the global cruise industry.
“The health and safety of cruise passengers and crew is and remains the number one priority of CLIA and its member lines, which make up over 90% of ocean-going cruise capacity worldwide.
Given the evolving nature of the ongoing COVID-19—and based upon prevailing guidance from global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO)—CLIA Members have adopted the following enhanced protocols for ocean-going guests and crew who have recently traveled from or through China, including Hong Kong and Macau. These enhanced policies, which are in effect as of 7 February 2020, build upon those which were implemented on 31 January 2020 and continue to allow for informed decisions on a case-by-case basis whether a guest or crewmember will be permitted to board.
• CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
• CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
• CLIA Members are to conduct preboarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.
In coordination with cruise lines, medical experts and regulators around the world, CLIA and its member lines will continue to closely monitor for new developments related to the coronavirus and will modify these policies as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of passengers and crew. With strict measures in place, as guided by national and international health authorities, CLIA and its member lines do not believe restrictions on the movement of ships are justified.
Importantly, the cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of those onboard, with outbreak prevention and response measures in place year-round. Furthermore, ships must be fitted with onboard medical facilities, with shipboard medical professionals available around the clock, 24/7, to provide initial medical care in the event of illness and help prevent disease transmission.”
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